- Prep time 25 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
- Serves 4
This savory recipe comes from Vietnam and is often served when ringing in the Lunar New Year. Fatty pork belly and/or pork shoulder is braised in a rich sauce flavored with shallots, garlic, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Caramelized sugar gives this unique recipe a depth of flavor not typically found in savory Asian dishes. —Connie Choi
Test Kitchen Notes
Whether you're ringing in Lunar New Year or you just want a dish that hits all the right notes, this braised pork recipe is definitely what you're looking for. Most of the cook time is hands off, and you do have to caramelize sugar, which, as written here, is easier than you'd think. Just keep an eye on it as it cooks since it does burn in an instant. If you mess up, simply wipe out the pot and try again. Mixing the pork with garlic, shallots, fish sauce, soy sauce, and star anise gives it so much extra flavor. Coating it in caramelized sugar is just the icing on the cake. After that, all you have to do is pour in the coconut milk and let everything simmer and reduce. A finishing touch of scallions and serving over rice means dinner is ready to go.
According to Connie Choi, who developed this recipe, her mother used to serve this all the time when she was a kid. And you can see the appeal this dish would have for both kids and adults alike. If you have one, keep an instant-read thermometer handy as the pork simmers so you can remove it from the heat when your ideal temperature is registered. We recommend simmering until it registers at 145°F, then let it rest for a few minutes if you can bear it. This recipe is comfort food in a bowl, and we imagine the folks in your household will be requesting it all the time too. —The Editors
pork belly and/or pork shoulder, sliced into 1-inch pieces
shallots, finely chopped
garlic cloves, finely chopped
whole star anise pods
freshly ground black pepper
light coconut milk or coconut juice
Cooked white rice, for serving
- Place the eggs in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. As soon as it reaches a rolling boil, remove from the heat, cover with the lid, and let sit for 8 minutes. Peel, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the pork, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, star anise, and pepper.
- In a Dutch oven or medium pot over medium-low heat, heat the sugar, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until caramelized. The sugar will melt, turn into a syrup, then become darker in color. The sugar burns very easily, so keep a close eye! Once it turns golden brown, add the pork, increase the heat to medium-high, and stir to coat and brown the meat. After the meat is brown all over, simmer for 5 minutes to let the sauce cook down.
- Pour in the coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. ladle and discard any fat or foam that rises to the surface.
- Add the reserved eggs, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
- Divide the pork among plates, top with the scallions, and serve over rice.